Cherokee Nation treasurer stepping down in May
TAHLEQUAH – Lacey Horn, the Cherokee Nation’s treasurer since 2011, plans to step down in May to spend more time with family.
“It was an amazing experience to be surrounded by people who had the Cherokee people’s best interest at heart,” she said after announcing her decision at April’s Executive and Finance Committee meeting. “It is now time for me to put my family on the front burner. So in the upcoming weeks I will transition out of my role as treasurer and into the role of super mom.”
Horn, of Vian, was appointed treasurer in 2011. In that role, she oversaw the tribe’s growing budget, helped upgrade the tribe’s bond rating, promoted financial disclosure and transparency, and received “Excellence in Financial Reporting” awards from the Government Finance Officers Association, according to the CN.
“I think we’re kind of shocked,” Tribal Councilor Mike Shambaugh said of Horn’s announcement. “You’ve always been so transparent with us and you’ve always kept us in the loop on everything. We’ll miss you. But I am happy for you. You’re going to get to spend time with your kids and that’s an awesome deal.”
Horn talked about highlights of her CN career.
“Successes of the past eight years are extremely well documented,” she said. “A tribal government budget that increased from $600 million to $1 billion in eight years is just one indicator of our financial success and growth.”
Other points she highlighted included:
• Eight years of “perfectly clean” audits;
• An upgraded bond rating;
• Increases in federal appropriations;
• Millions of dollars in new grants;
• New laws “that modernized” the CN’s banking and investment options; and
• Millions of dollars saved “as we looked to decrease” expenses.
Horn also cited “successful navigation” of federal government shutdowns and sequestration. She thanked her colleagues in Financial Resources.
“They played an enormous role that has gone unseen and unspoken that has not been unappreciated,” she said. “The greatest loss for me personally as I step down will be my inability to continue as their leader, their cheerleader and their greatest advocate.”
Tribal Council Speaker Joe Byrd told Horn that, “When you recharge, when you get some time with your family and want to come back, that door should always be open for you. We will be really hard pressed to bring someone on board that matches what you’ve done and what you’ve accomplished.”
Diane Kelley, the current CN Career Services executive director, said she’s “got to work with a lot of treasurers” in her 42 years with the tribe.
“She’s by far one of the best treasurers that I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with,” Kelley said of Horn. “I applaud her for what she did in her time here. Yes, she’s young, but she proved herself.”
Kelley praised the treasurer’s office for achieving spotless audits.
“If we didn’t have those clean audits, we wouldn’t have got those grants that we got this year,” Kelley said. “Every time you go after a federal grant or contract, the first thing they want to know is how sound are you and how good is your financial compliance.”
Horn was also lauded as a role model for young women.
“I want to thank you for inspiring my own daughters,” Tribal Councilor Janees Taylor said.
Horn was named to the 2012 Oklahoma Online Magazine’s 40 Under 40 list and, in 2014, Executive of the Year by the Native American Finance Officers Association.
In 2016, she was appointed to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Tribal Advisory Committee that advises the secretary of treasury on taxation of American Indians, the training of Internal Revenue Service field agents and training and technical assistance to Native American financial officers.
Her nomination was endorsed by a resolution passed by the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes.